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How Dr. Joy Buolamwini is Working Towards Equitable and Accountable Technology

Several years ago, while still a graduate student at MIT’s Media Lab, Dr. Joy Buolamwini began to notice a troubling pattern in facial recognition technology—an inability to detect a wide range of skin tones and facial structures, even in widely available systems employed by Big Tech, government agencies, and law enforcement. The implications were concerning: “algorithmic bias” can lead to exclusion, discrimination, and criminalization of people, specifically people of color.

Since then, Dr. Buolamwini has become one of the leading voices advocating on behalf of communities of color harmed by facial recognition technology.

Earlier this month, she joined President Biden and a group of experts to discuss challenges and opportunities related to artificial intelligence. She later joined journalist Amy Goodman at “Democracy Now!” to talk about some of her key takeaways from that meeting.

In 2016, she delivered a TED Talk about this issue, which you can watch below. 

Dr. Buolamwini is the founder of Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), an organization working to create a world with more accountable technology. Through a combination of art, research, policy guidance, and media advocacy, AJL raises public awareness about the impacts of artificial intelligence, and galvanizes researchers, policymakers, and industry practitioners to prevent AI harms. AJL’s work is supported the Foundation’s new technology and society line of grantmaking, out of its CEO Fund. 

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CEO Fund: Technology and Society